Monday, July 6, 2009

Be Still, My Heart

Inspiration and insight can at times come from the most unlikely and unexpected places.

When I met face-to-face a couple of weeks ago with the target of my writing/travel/ lifestyle envy (see second-to-last blog entry if you’re mystified), I wasn’t sure what to expect. My new approach to life dictates that I must no longer have expectations of any one or thing, but I was admittedly curious about the pending encounter. I thought it might end up as a sensible and focused discussion (wedged in between her many important writing assignments) over a cup of coffee, whereby I could quick-pick her brain about writing (not that I had any idea what I would ask her) with the hope of gleaning some information that might project me forward one day into the ethereal world of Becoming a Writer.

But it was so much more.

It turned out to be one of those connections that takes on a life of its own; where no one leads the conversation - it leads itself. Time flowed as easily as the sangria and I walked away feeling energized and a touch sad that it was over so soon. We talked about writing, but it ended up being about other very cool stuff, too. I’m not even sure exactly what, and I’m not about to wreck it with analysis. Suffice it say: Man, I really like this chick.

What’s even more exhilarating is that this was the second such encounter of its kind in less than a week. I made another new friend, ironically via a potential freelance writing gig that never materialized. While I was initially disappointed about my failure to secure the contract (why was I disappointed? I am an unpublished, unproven writer), all associated thoughts quickly faded into the background as I realized that the writing project was nothing more than a vehicle; a door for me to walk through and close behind me, as something so much more valuable and enduring was waiting for me on the other side: a new friend.

Life is fantastic in this way. Where we think we’re headed is so often not where we end up.

I believe that keeping quiet and still (I mean this in many ways) since my return to Canada has played an important role in the amazing experiences and interactions that I’ve been enjoying of late. In a recent blog entry I confessed to feeling as though I had no identity; to feeling lost and out of place. I’m now realizing that my current state - one of serenity and acute awareness - is somehow tied to this previous condition; in a way even dependent on it. The two are inextricably intertwined.

Quietness and stillness are challenging and often dreaded states. As I touched on in a previous entry, many of us make sure to keep very busy with other stuff in order to avoid them. If we focus exclusively on the external, on the needs of others, on work and social demands and finances and trips to Wal-Mart, there’s no time to face the really tough questions - the ones that lie within each of us. It’s avoidance at its peak. Giving oneself permission to get lost for an undetermined amount of time is nothing, if not terrifying.

But by giving in to these conditions, by often rather painfully forcing myself to accept them, something new has opened up in me–a channel of sorts, if you will – through which I am inviting and allowing astonishing things to occur.

Peace is arriving; a state of grace is upon me; the living is now.

I am as light as a feather.

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